All new moms-to-be are constantly reminded by well-meaning relatives (and sometimes even the lady standing in front of you in a queue) how important it is to hand-wash all baby clothes using a specialist baby detergent.
However, there is really no reason why you can’t machine-wash baby clothes using a regular, mild laundry detergent. It is true that most babies do have extra sensitive skin and some are prone to skin conditions – like eczema- which can be aggravated by harsh detergents. However, as long as you use a mild detergent that has been formulated using only the gentlest of ingredients, not only is your little one sure to be fine, but your life as a new parent will definitely be a whole lot easier too!
Protecting your Baby and their Clothing
Your new baby will go through several changes of clothing and underclothes a day and, when you do decide to machine-wash your baby’s clothes, you will need to give the items a bit of special care (not only for your baby’s sake, but also to ensure that you are protecting the clothes themselves). You will want to make your baby’s clothing last as long as possible - especially considering the prices of baby clothes these days! Here are some tips regarding how to wash your baby’s clothes in the machine without it resulting in any skin irritations or causing any damage to the clothing in the process:
- DETERGENT – you can use a very mild soap for washing baby clothes - not necessarily a specialist baby laundry detergent. Use the laundry detergent that you would use to wash all of your delicates. Other things to watch out for are detergents that have added bleach, fabric softeners, or perfumes. Rather choose one that is as pure as possible.
- STAINS – some stains will require pre-treatment due to bright-coloured baby food, juices, and – dare we say it – poop! Some stains do not always respond to a simple laundry detergent. Most store-bought stain removers contain bleaching agents that can actually harm your baby’s skin, so rather rub a little baby bubble bath into the stain before putting it in the machine.
- SIZE OF LOAD – another way to protect the clothes themselves is by not overloading the machine (easier said than done!). If you have a whole basket full of clothes, try splitting over smaller loads than doing one large one. If your machine is overloaded and there is very little room for the clothes to move about, they might get tangled and may well get damaged. You can be guaranteed that this will result in clothes that are less clean at the end of the cycle.
- SELECTING CORRECT CYCLE – you can help to protect your baby’s clothes by selecting a gentle spin cycle, or even the “hand-wash” setting (if your machine offers it). By selecting a “gentler” cycle, the spin cycle on your machine will be a lot gentler on the clothes, reducing the risk of snagging. The fabric and weave used to make your baby’s clothing is a lot looser and more delicate so that your baby does not overheat under all of the layers. However, this means that the items require extra care in order to ensure that they are properly looked after.
Don’t be Afraid of your Machine!
As long as you are using a mild detergent and selecting the correct spin cycle on your machine, you can rest assured that using a washing machine to wash your baby’s clothes is perfectly fine and it definitely does not make you a bad parent! You are not harming your baby, or their outfits, in any way.
For busy parents who are constantly on the go, machine-washing just makes sense. With all of the other important tasks like feeding, changing and playing with your baby, it is a brilliant time saver and an effective way in which to tackle the most stubborn of stains.
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